A Multidirectional Synthesis of Art and Technology


Installation and Performance Art
from Faculty, Staff and Students of the Ringling College of Art

The South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium March 31-April 11

Public Performance in the Plantarium and Reception for Artists Saturday, April 5, 2008 6 p.m to 9 p.m.

A Talk with the Artists: Some artists from the Cosmix Show talk about their work and answer questions,
Tuesday, April 8, 6:30 p.m.

Cosmix Performance Documentation Page

Photos of the Cosmix Event

Click Here to go to Press Photos for Cosmix

Click Here for General Press Release with Revised Dates

Click Here for Press Photos of Cosmix Installation Work

Click Here for Press Release on Ringling Students and Faculty participating in the project

Information on File Conversion Techniques for making mpeg-2 files that can be adapted to dome projection

Click Here to view the Script for the Cosmix Performance

 A PDF file of the Cosmix poster by April Magley

A List of Facilitators and Participating Artists

Time and Date: Installations were placed in the Museum beginning Monday, March 31 and will be on display through April 11. There will be a showcase event on Saturday, April 5th from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. which will feature a continuous live music/multimedia performance in the planetarium. The performance will feature the music of legendary local composer of ambient music, Rik Tweed (riktweed.com) . The performance will also include work and assistance by interdisciplinary theater artist, Anna DeMers (http://www.tctheatre.com/). This performance will bracket several formal presentations including probably two sets of planetarium installation pieces, work for planetarium by Wendy Wischer (wendywischer.com ), a group show of a formal performance by the Writing for Installation and Performance class of approx. 25 minutes or less. The performance time will be will be repeated two or three times during the 300 minutes from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Intentions: This is conceived as a community-building project.  We would like to begin what we hope would be a number of collaborations of various types between the Ringling College of Art and the South Florida Museum/Bishop Planetarium. There are many natural points of contact between the institutions, among them the spectacular immersive planetarium theater and our own interests in training content makers for such new technologies.
We also want to take a step forward in building the community at Ringling that is interested in installation and performance art, new media, multimedia and collaborations of all types. We would like to start building a community of curricular interests in these areas across the departmental boundaries of the college and in combination with the resources of our locality.
We would like to provide students at Ringling an opportunity projects for an extraordinary venue that offers a wide range of challenges and encouragements to those interested in making intermedia performance and installation of all types.

Genesis of the Piece at Ringling: My experience at Ringling has led me to the belief that extracurricular projects are very difficult to mount and sustain, so we have tried to build an armature for this event around course assignments. My class in Creative Writing for Installation and Performance will anchor the 30 minute performance in the planetarium. Wendy Wischer, our visiting artist in Fine Arts from Miami (see her work at wendywischer.com), is teaching a course in Installation art this semester and her students will make this project their major focus. A group of students based in the fabrics classes will produce work for the event. A number of faculty and staff will also be contributing both site specific and non-site specific installation work.

Planetarium pieces: We are currently soliciting mpeg-2 videos for possible inclusion in the planetarium event. These works should fit with the theme of the various sections of the piece. The script can be viewed at the link to the planetarium runtime at the top of this page or here. Submitted mpeg-2s should be in the highest resolution possible. They may be short and looped,or long, mpeg's of still images in the form of a slide show, digital video, simple animations or whatever. They will be projected as parts of simultaneous projections of images from the seven high-definition digial projectors around and at the center of the planetarium dome. Work for the top of the dome is especially desirable.

The naming convention for the seven projectors in the dome theater is as follows, in terms of where they project. if you are in the booth looking toward the front of the dome, the front and center 'slice' is 'B'. Immediately to its left is 'A'. Going around clockwise, then, from A, to B, C (front right), D, E (rear of the dome), F, with G being the circular cap at the top of the dome.

The techniques for working with After Effects to produce the correct file types are ennumerated by Lance Ford Jones in these two posts:

If you are rendering an mpeg-2 files from an After Effects Project

If you are using AfterEffects to convert a file to an Mpeg-2

It is possible to submit work for full-dome projection. This work has to be in the form of what are called dome masters and are produced out of Maya as single targa images that will be later combined by the proprietary software of the planetarium and put into motion. These images should be at a resolution of 4,000 x 4,000 or at least 3600 x 3600 and are very slow to render, we estimate about 1 frame per hour depending, of course, on your setup. Full-dome animations run at 30fps. Simple animations made up of cloned targa files may work, we are trying to experiment with one to see. For information about making dome master for full-dome projection you can go here for tutorials:
ArtsLab tutorial for full-dome beginners,
History and links to tutorials at wikipedia,
Paul Bouke's Projection Page
Links to Planetarium Content Providers and Independent Artists
Hemi-Cubic 3-D Camera setup in Maya
Creating Content for a Full Dome Sky Skan Show
Paper on Live Action Video for a Full-Dome Show

Availability: The museum is providing free access to Ringling faculty, staff, and students who are involved in the project by showing your college ID at the entry desk. Project members can also bring family members to enjoy the museum and planetarium. All project members are encouraged to visit the museum to get a clear sense of the site and the conditions.

Project Proposals: We are asking that all students working on a project for the event submit a written project proposal as part of our initiative to encourage writing across the curriculum. Proposals should come from students or groups of students who are working on their project as part of a class assignment. Students who submit mpeg's for inclusion in the planetarium performance do not have to submit proposals. Academic support for proposal writing is available by special arrangement for classes or from the ARC.  In addition, any Ringling student who wishes may propose a project for this event regardless if it is for a class assignment or not. Project proposals should be emailed to the project facilitators.  At this juncture the project facilitators are:

David Steiling (dsteiling@ringling.edu)
Will help facilitate the overall event and the planetarium performance

Sheryl Haler (shaler@ringling.edu)
Will facilitate the space allocation and planning for the museum installation pieces

Jane Buckman (jbuckman@ringling.edu)
Director of the Longboat Key Art Center who will facilitate institution to institution relations and the social networking portion of the event.

Any individuals, groups, or classes that which to participate should contact David or Sheryl and soon as possible.

Theme: Wendy Wischer has suggested that the event should be built around a theme or other orientation to help give shape and coherency to the result. I am suggesting the title, Cosmix, for the event to suggest works that might be cosmic in their aspirations and mixed in their media.  In addition, I am suggesting orienting the event around the theme of the cardinal directions, in this case seven directions—East, South, West, North, Up, Down, and Inward. 
Through the cardinal directions we  are able to orient ourselves in any world, physical or virtual. This is the way we place ourselves in relation to a center, and how we know where we are in relation to each other. The cardinal directions are laid out along a wheel, ESWN are the spokes, Up and Down the axle and Inward the Hub. One can enter the metaphor of the wheel at any point and progress around the cardinal directions until one returns to the point of origin. There is no hierarchy on the wheel, merely the progress of the seasons. The metaphor promotes the health of standing in all the directions before coming to action. The following might be a map of the situation:

East: Vision, Intuition and sometimes Insight. The Hall of the Mastodon. Some pieces might stand in the East. One tends to project.  Fire, the emotions.
South: Gathering. Attention to details. In the South the Labyrinth and the Chapel. Contemplation. Reflection. One can range about in the South. Mix. Water, the psyche, dreams.
West: Home of Snooty the Manatee. This is the place for evaluation. Consideration. Analysis. Construction, Deconstruction, Reconstruction. Remix. Earth, the physical manifestation.
North: Considered action or considered inaction. The dome of the cosmos and the procession of the animals along the wheel of the sky. Under the dome, a celebration. Air, abstract thoughts and concepts.
“Up, Down and In are the first three directions and call us to both critical inquiry and spiritual awareness in order to identify our core beliefs and values” (Kaylynn Twotrees). All over the map are sites and occasions through which to give full expression to this core.
At the center might be the formless heart.

I have prepared a writing exercise based on our experiences with Kaylynn’s approach that one can do with students to orient them to the frame work of the event. This can be used by anyone if they want. The link is here.

Institution to Institution: The Cosmix event is intended to be a celebration of the exciting potential in new links formed by the Ringling College of Art and The South Florida Museum/Bishop Planetarium, and between the college and the larger cultural community of Manatee County.  The Longboat Key Arts Center has recently become part of the College and because it is located in Manatee County is a natural collaborator in building connections between the College and the cultural institutions of Manatee County.  To that end I have asked the new director of the Longboat Key Art Center, Jane Buckman, to join our project as a facilitator of the inter-institutional relationship and social occasion which should accompany our event.